This week in History 10, our class has been teaching ourselves about Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller and their industrial impacts on America. After using resources provided by Mrs. Gallagher, we took notes as a class and created an essential question together. Our essential question states: Did the captains of industry have a positive or negative impact on the public? The first thing we did was watch a series of videos as a class. Each group was assigned a different topic to take notes about. Then we analyzed sources about John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Lastly, we analyzed more documents about Rockefeller and Carnegie and their impact on the public. As a class, we took notes in a shared Google doc.
Rockefeller and Carnegie were two captains of industry that had both good and bad impacts on the public. A captain of industry is a leader in a specific field of business. John Rockefeller amassed the wealth that he needed to start a big business by supporting the Union army during the Civil War. He founded Standard Oil in 1870. In order to become a wealthy businessman, Rockefeller bought or put rival companies out of business, bribed politicians, and was seen by the public eye to have been motivated by greed. But his contributions to the public greatly outweighed any negative effect on the public. John Rockefeller donated millions of dollars to support education. A Vision of Rockefeller says, “In 1903 he [Rockefeller] created the General Education Board at an ultimate cost of $129 million to promote education in the United States “without distinction of sex, race, or creed.””He also gave away lots of money to charities. By supporting many different charities, he helped to get rid of yellow fever. Rockefeller also believed that he deserved to make money so that he could give it back to the community. Andrew Carnegie was an American immigrant that started from the bottom. He was a bobbin boy in a textile mill, and a telegraph operator. He was one of the first operators in the country to take messages by sound, and was soon promoted to a Superintendent position. Soon after, Carnegie became a steel manufacturer and was able to produce higher quality steel at a lower price than his American competitors. The public was greatly upset when they found out about Carnegie’s plans to destroy the Iron and Steelmakers Union. But even though he greatly upset the public, he made a positive impact on society. He was able to figure out a way to produce high quality steel but keep prices down at the same time. He also believed that he had a moral obligation to give some of his wealth to help benefit the public. Just like Rockefeller, he helped encourage education. Some of Carnegie’s money was given to build schools, libraries, and to buy organs for churches. Carnegie’s advancement in the production of steel and his monetary contributions to the community is evidence that Carnegie had a mostly positive impact on the public.
Although Rockefeller and Carnegie weren't particularly liked by the public, I believe that they did some good things for their communities. Personally, I wasn't a big fan of the structure of our lesson this week. I really had a hard time understanding the importance of the material that we were learning this week without the guidance of our teacher.